Alaskan wave energy research project restarts

Researchers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks have resumed survey activities in Alaska in support of the government-backed Yakutat Wave Energy Project.

Illustration (Photo: University of Alaska Fairbanks)

The principal investigator for the project and Alaska Hydrokinetic Energy Research Center (AHERC) Director Jeremy Kasper was set to board Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s research vessel Solstice last week together with the rest of the project research team.

Headed for Yakutat, the team set out to conduct trawl and hydrographic survey work for the project that will assess the economic feasibility installing wave energy converters in the area, as well as their potential environmental implications.

Yakutat is a community along the northeast coast of the Gulf of Alaska that is currently considering utilizing renewable, wave-based electricity generation in order to decrease their reliance on diesel fuel for electricity generation.

Funded by the US Bureau of Energy Management (BOEM), the project will collect scientific and technical data sufficient for complete economic feasibility assessment, and establish firm scientific understanding of seabed dynamics, ambient underwater noise, and fish and marine mammal presence and habitat requirements in the offshore project area of Yakutat.

The three-year project is expected to be completed in 2020.